Establishment Writer Of The Week: Katherine Cross
‘Writing isn’t what I do, it’s who I am.’
Impostor syndrome is never so acute as when editing Katherine Cross.
A masterful wordsmith who has personally contributed extensively to the vocabulary of The Establishment’s editorial team (soma! asseverate! balliwick! shibboleth!), a lucid articulator of punishingly complex ideas, and a cultural critic with a rare nose for nuance, Katherine can make even the finest editors feel profoundly unworthy.
We’ve been working with Katherine at The Establishment for more than a year, and have come to know her not only as a writer of impeccable talents, but as someone who exemplifies our commitment to publishing a diverse array of stories. The gender politics of artificial intelligence? She’s explored it. Punching Nazis? She’s defended it. Donald Trump’s wealth? She’s eviscerated it.
If you’re wondering what our balliwick is, we’re here to tell you: It’s loving Katherine Cross.
We asked Katherine to share her thoughts on writing and life — GIFs, pizza, and bondage included. Stay tuned for more spotlights on the remarkable writers of The Establishment, every Monday. And learn more about how to directly support these lovely people here.
You can generally find me writing anywhere with a Wi-Fi connection on a laptop while drinking a cosmo/Scotch/tea.
The writers that have most influenced my life are Rebecca Solnit, Siri Hustvedt, Janet Mock, Julia Serano, and Hannah Arendt.
The TV character I most identify with is Pearl from Steven Universe.
I think “paying writers in exposure” is pants.
The coolest thing I’ve bought from money made writing is a trip to Seattle to see my girlfriends.
My most listened to song of all time is “Sinnerman” by Nina Simone.
If I could share one of my stories by yelling it into a megaphone in the middle of Times Square, it would be my essay “The Art of the Real” in The Baffler.
My 18-year-old self would feel chuffed about where I am today.
I like writing for The Establishment because I can truly speak my mind here.
If I could only have one type of food for the rest of my life it would be pizza.
If I could give the amazing people who sponsor stories anything in the world to express my gratitude, it would be writing whose material effects are visible in real-time.
‘I think paying writers in exposure is pants.’
The story I’m working on now is about the Grenfell Tower tragedy and why public housing contains the true “revolutionary class.”
The story I want to write next is about what politicized BDSM would look like as a theme in popular art. (Editor’s note: This piece has been commissioned by The Establishment, and will be published in the coming weeks.)
Writing means this to me: Writing isn’t what I do, it’s who I am. Writing is how I think, how I move, how I work, how I work through my emotions; writing is therapy. It’s a stiff drink, an old friend, and a loving Mistress whose ministrations have made me a better person. Writing has slapped me about when I lie to myself, and has, in turn, filled every part of me until I dare to say what I mean. Writing is an art and a craft, not to be desecrated by callowness, pandering, propagandizing, or insincerity. It is the one companion I’m sure to grow old with.
My summary of writing in three GIFs: